Nancy Loves Those Memorials To Fallen Hero’s

Well, not really, and Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC) won’t stand for it

In a letter today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) responded to July 7, 2008 correspondence from the Chief Administrative Officer and Architect of the Capitol asserting that the memorial honoring the fallen heroes of Camp Lejeune displayed outside of Jones’ congressional office violates the new “Hallway Policy,” as approved by Speaker Pelosi on April 17, 2008.

The history behind the creation of congressional office memorials to honor fallen service members dates to 2004 when Jones and Congressman Rahm Emanuel introduced H. Con. Res. 506, directing the Architect of the Capitol to establish an exhibit in the Capitol rotunda to honor the memory of members of the United States Armed Forces who have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. While House Speaker Dennis Hastert ultimately directed the construction of a modest memorial listing names of the fallen in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building, failure to act on the resolution led Congressman Jones and other members to erect more proper memorials in their own office areas to honor the lives of these fallen heroes.

“Surely, the new policy does not apply to memorials honoring U.S. service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Jones wrote in today’s letter to Speaker Pelosi. “The policy states that items such as flags, equipment, furnishings and trash and recyclable material must be removed from the hallways. The policy defines furnishings in part as ‘easels’ and ‘exhibits and posters,’ the same materials used in construction of the memorials in question. However, it is inconceivable that these symbols of service for our Nation could be considered mere ‘furnishings.’ While trash, recycle bins, and old office furniture are certainly within the purview of the new policy, memorials to service members who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan should not be within the policy’s jurisdiction.”

“Should you determine that the memorials do fall within the scope of the ‘Hallway Policy,’ I would request that you make an exception, as I trust their removal was not the intent behind adoption of this new policy,” Jones continued. “While cast-off office equipment and trash are certainly a hindrance to the public who pass through our esteemed halls, the memorials erected to honor the lives of those who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are a welcome tribute. Many Americans, from my district and others, have stopped to view the faces of fallen Marines from Camp Lejeune displayed outside my office door and have been impacted deeply by the display of their heroism. On one occasion, a mother from Minnesota came into my office and thanked me with tears in her eyes for displaying the picture of her son who had been killed while serving our Nation.”

“I am open to suggestions of other methods to house these testaments to our men and women in uniform, but reject the notion, as asserted in the July 7, 2008 correspondence, that the simple listing of the names of the fallen in the Rayburn entrance foyer is sufficient,” Jones concluded. “The fallen men and women of Camp Lejeune and the many other service members who have valiantly given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan have a right to be displayed and honored.”

The balls in your court now, Nancy. Will you stick with a petty policy, or honor the men and women who have fallen in combat?

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